Eden Hazard remains in good spirits despite being sidelined again at Real Madrid after testing positive for coronavirus.

Madrid announced on Saturday that Hazard and Casemiro had returned a positive result for COVID-19, ruling them out of the meeting with Valencia at Mestalla on Sunday.

The Belgium international has featured just 25 times in all competitions for Los Blancos since arriving from Chelsea for €100million in June last year, scoring two goals and supplying four assists. In his final campaign at Stamford Bridge, he registered 16 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League alone.

A persistent ankle problem blighted Hazard's first season with Madrid but Zidane assured he is not letting another setback get him down.

"Well, they're okay I think," Zidane said when asked how Casemiro and Hazard were doing after their positive tests.

"They're not happy with what's happened but they're okay and physically they don't have many symptoms, but we know it's tough.

"I left them a message and I'll speak to them later. This can happen and we have to accept that."

Asked specifically if he was worried about Hazard's state of mind, Zidane replied: "You know what he's like as a player. He's a strong player.

"It's a tough moment with injuries and everything but he's in good spirits, which is important. He has to wait a week now."

Due to the positive coronavirus cases Zidane was forced to quickly change his training plans on the eve of the trip to Valencia

"We have to adapt to the situation. We know it could be worse.. It happened to [Eder] Militao the other day, to Eden and Casemiro today," said Zidane.

"We have to accept it and keep going forward, because the strength is in the team unit. There are worse things that are happening, people are worse of elsewhere, but it's disconcerting that the training session today has been completely different the day before a game.

"It's disconcerting because you don't know what's going to happen, in what moment you're going to have positives or not and that's what's happened with these two players.

"They are responsible people but unfortunately it's happened. It could be worse. There are people in much worse situations who are really, really suffering outside of football.

"But in the world of football I'm a manager and I prefer to have them available for tomorrow obviously."

Zidane confirmed that Martin Odegaard will be in the squad to face Valencia, having spent three weeks out with a calf problem.

Madrid will be aiming to make it 10 LaLiga away games without defeat for the first time in three years against a Valencia side who, with eight points from as many games, are experiencing their worst start to a season since having seven points at the same stage in the 1999-2000 campaign.

Zinedine Zidane has "no doubt" Sergio Ramos will stay on at Real Madrid after the long-serving defender reached another milestone figure with his 100th goal for the club.

The Spain international put Madrid two goals up against Inter in their eventual 3-2 win over the Italian side in Tuesday's entertaining Champions League clash.

Ramos' landmark header came on the same day he had been linked with a move to Juventus but Zidane is adamant his captain is going nowhere.

"I have no doubt that he will stay," Zidane said at his post-match news conference. "He is our leader and of course we love him forever."

Ramos joined Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 and made his 500th LaLiga appearances in last weekend's 4-1 win over Huesca.

Of his 100 goals, 55 have come via his head and the skipper admits he took pride in scoring from a set-piece against Inter.

"We knew from what [Samir] Handanovic said that they had been studying our corner deliveries with Toni [Kroos] finding me," he told Movistar after the game.

"But the more we can continue to surprise our rivals, the better. They know what they are doing, they have a very defined philosophy and they made the most of that. 

"It's a good result, and three points in a group that had started to look complicated for us."

Asked about his achievement of reaching three figures for goals in Madrid colours, Ramos said: "It's not bad, and it is nice that it is recognised.

"It's not a figure which defenders usually get to. Hopefully there'll be many more."

Ramos' header came eight minutes after Karim Benzema had profited from an Achraf Hakimi error to open the scoring for Madrid at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Inter recovered through goals from Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic but Rodrygo regained Madrid's lead in the 80th minute after being set up by fellow substitute Vinicius Junior.

Madrid had more of the possession (55 per cent) and managed seven shots on target to Inter's three, and Zidane believes the right team won in the end.

"There was always going to be tension because we were playing a strong rival," he said. "We have suffered but we must congratulate the players because they deserved it. 

"We started very well, pressing up as we wanted. We made it 2-0 but then had difficulty keeping up with the ball. Then the second half was very close, but that is normal.

"The team has an impressive character and they want to show that they can do. We are going to have difficulties in all the games because I watch a lot of games and I don't see any of them win the games easily."

Madrid have conceded two or more goals in five consecutive Champions League games for just the second time, having previously done so in 2001, and Zidane admits it is now about finding the right balance between attack and defence.

"It is true – there is always a balance to have," he said. "We played a side who are also good on the counter, but how long ago was it that they said we do not score such goals?

"We have to keep working because it is not easy to do the two things together."

Madrid are third in Group B, behind Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk, after moving onto four points from three games.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte claimed he has previously turned down offers to manage Real Madrid.

Conte, 51, made the admission at a media conference on the eve of crunch Champions League clash between the clubs.

Zinedine Zidane is in his second spell in charge of Madrid having returned in March 2019 after Julen Lopetegui was sacked and an interim stint by Santiago Solari.

"Of course, there have been a couple of moments in the past when I was very close to coaching Real Madrid," Conte said on Monday.

"The season had already started, it would have been difficult to take over, the club had already made a schedule and in a very sincere way I preferred to postpone it

"In the past, it's true, there was the opportunity to become the Real Madrid coach, but perhaps it wasn’t the right time."

Asked if he could envisage himself as Madrid coach in the future, former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea boss Conte insisted he was happy at Inter for the time being.

He added: "I want to continue the project here at Inter. Right now, I am really very focused on Inter.

"I started a project here with a very strong ownership and I am happy. We are creating something important."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is backing Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio to "define an era" for Los Blancos.

In the eyes of many, Madrid have regressed as an attacking force in the years since their much-revered 'BBC' triumvirate of Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo was disbanded.

While Benzema has arguably found another level to his game with 45 LaLiga goals since the start of 2018-19, Bale fell out of favour before leaving and Hazard has struggled for form and fitness since essentially being brought in as Ronaldo's replacement last year.

But Hazard made his first appearance of the season in Saturday's 4-1 win over Huesca, scoring for the first time in 392 days, while Asensio is expected to have a big future at the club after recovering from a serious knee injury last term.

While Zidane stopped short of comparing the two trios, he is optimistic the three still at the club can achieve great success in the coming years.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter, Zidane said: "The players who are here always want to make history.

"Those three you just said are important and I'm sure they can define an era in Madrid. Those three are important and are going to do important things.

"I know there is talk about us needing to change things in the squad, but what I see inside is that everyone wants to win and compete, and that is very good for the coach, who is me at the moment.

"I enjoy all of my players and we are going to try with everyone to achieve the objectives."

Nevertheless, the Madrid squad has shown evidence of tension of late, with Benzema caught on camera slating team-mate Vinicius Junior to Ferland Mendy in the tunnel during half-time of their previous Champions League outing against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Zidane recently said the pair have spoken and the situation is fine, and Raphael Varane is calling for the team to remain united in the face of uncomfortable reports surrounding the club.

"The Real Madrid dressing room is very close," he said. "We know that there is a lot of pressure here and many things are said outside the club, especially when we lose.

"We have to help each other. We have to be calm with things [coming from] outside the club."

Madrid have failed to win either of their two opening group games for the second season in a row, having previously not done so for 23 years.

Similarly, they are winless in four games in the competition ahead of Inter's visit, their worst run since September 2006.

Real Madrid's shock Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk could be partly to blame for Los Blancos' recent in-house issues involving Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, according to Miners star Tete.

Shakhtar recorded a remarkable 3-2 win at Madrid last month in their Champions League Group B opener, beating the Spanish title-holders despite being without 10 first-team players due to coronavirus.

Madrid were trailing 3-0 at half-time, as exciting Brazilian winger Tete opened the scoring with a neat finish in the 29th minute, before the 20-year-old had a hand in two more goals.

Zinedine Zidane's men attempted to fight back but could only get two goals in the second half, and they followed that defeat with another disappointing result on matchday two, barely salvaging a 2-2 draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach after going 2-0 down.

It was at half-time against Gladbach when Benzema was caught on camera slating team-mate Vinicius to Ferland Mendy in the tunnel, telling his compatriot not to pass to the Brazilian.

In the second half, Benzema failed to play a single pass to Vinicius, while Mendy looked for him on only two occasions, and Tete believes the tension behind such a situation may well have initially been brought on by their loss to Shakhtar.

"I think so," Tete told Stats Perform News when asked if losing to Shakhtar caused something of a crisis for Madrid.

"I believe they suffered some impact from that defeat. We were facing some issues in the squad due to COVID-19, but the most important thing was that we proved the strength of our squad.

"Many people expected us to lose by at least three goals in Madrid, they thought we weren't capable of dealing with the situation, but we surprised everyone. We beat Madrid in Madrid, the most successful club in the Champions League.

"So, I believe it was a shock for them, so if that problem between Benzema and Vinicius really happened, which I don't know if is true or not, but I do think Madrid were impacted after that defeat to us."

Shakhtar then held Inter to a 0-0 draw in their second group outing and Tete believes Shakhtar's performances across the two matches prove they are capable of potentially mounting a surprise challenge for the title.

"I personally always have high ambitions," he said, with Monchengladbach up next on Tuesday. "I think of reaching the final. The team has quality for it, we've shown that our squad has a lot of personality.

"So, we can go further and must keep working hard. On Tuesday there's another crucial game and hopefully it will go well.

"There's always a surprise package in the competition every year and we do think to be the one [this season]. It would be very important for Shakhtar as a club to reach the semi-final or the final, and we do have other surprises as an inspiration."

Zinedine Zidane insisted Eden Hazard has no problems despite the player keeping celebrations to a minimum when he ended his long wait for a Real Madrid goal.

Hazard's thunderous strike in the first half against Huesca, his first goal for the club for 392 days, set Madrid on their way to a 4-1 victory on Saturday.

The Belgium star described it as a "beautiful goal" in a social media post but surprisingly did not celebrate with much aplomb when the ball hit the net.

Head coach Zidane did not feel there was much to glean from Hazard's reaction, though.

"I'm happy for his game," Zidane said. "He played 20 minutes the other day, and now more.

"We know the quality he has; he scored a good goal. We needed it in the first half because then the game was different after the goal.

"You can see associations between players. Hazard plays on the left and Vini's [Vinicius Junior] preferred position is on the left. We'll see how we do things.

"He's okay, he has no problems, [he is] happy. He's happy for his goal and his team-mates are happy for him.

"It's a win, four goals, and you have to be happy."

Hazard's thumping effort broke Huesca's impressive first-half resistance before Madrid assumed control through a Karim Benzema double and a Federico Valverde goal.

The win sent the champions back to the top of the table, two points ahead of Real Sociedad, and served as a useful response to a disappointing Champions League performance at Borussia Monchengladbach in which they snatched a 2-2 draw after falling 2-0 down.

"It was like a final. We had to get three important points and we did," Zidane said.

"The game wasn't perfect, but there are four goals. It's always said that we don't score, that we don't play well... and since the situation is a bit strange, we need a lot of energy from among ourselves because what comes from outside doesn't help.

"We more or less controlled their strong points. From there, we had... not the best game, but after two games last week, where we put in a lot energy, we have to be happy.

"We know we can do better and that's what we're going to try to do."

Zinedine Zidane insists there are no lasting issues between Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior after the Real Madrid striker told Ferland Mendy not to pass to their team-mate. 

In Madrid's 2-2 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Zidane's side two down at half-time, Benzema was caught on camera appearing to discuss Vinicius. 

"Brother, don't pass to him," Benzema told Mendy in the tunnel. "On my mother's life, he is playing against us." 

Benzema did not play a single pass to the Brazilian in the second half, having created an opportunity with one of his three first-half passes, while Mendy found Vinicius just twice more before the latter was substituted in the 70th minute. 

Zidane was not concerned by the part of Benzema - who pulled a gol back before Casemiro levelled - in the conversation, suggesting such exchanges are commonplace but not usually made public. 

"It is clear about Benzema and Vinicius," Zidane said. "They have talked to each other. Things stay on the field. They talked and it is perfect.

"There is no problem between them - the opposite. In the end, the important thing is that the energy is on tomorrow's game [against Huesca].

"Things like Benzema and Vinicius have always happened but they stay on the field. The only thing that has changed is that there are many cameras." 

By the time he made way for Eden Hazard, none of Vinicius' three shots had hit the target, with two blocked, while he did not pick out a team-mate with any of his three crosses, although he did create chances for both Benzema and Mendy. 

A disappointingly low 71.4 per cent of passes found their man, however, and the 20-year-old completed only two of his five attempted dribbles. 

But Zidane expects the forward to bounce back as he remains a big part of Madrid's plans. 

"Vinicius is young," he added. "He has a present and a future at Madrid. He is a boy who wants to learn and improve. He works and that is good for a coach and a team."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said Los Blancos will take a cautious approach with Eden Hazard following his long-awaited return in the Champions League.

Hazard came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining as stuttering LaLiga champions Madrid overturned a two-goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach thanks to Casemiro's 93rd-minute equaliser.

Belgian star Hazard was included in the squad for the first time this season, having sustained a muscle injury as he neared a return to action at the end of last month.

Discussing Hazard's comeback post-match, Madrid boss Zidane told reporters: "It was his first game after a long time out.

"That was the plan to gradually try and get him playing and that's what we've got to do with Eden.

"He needs to be involved gradually and that's all there is to it. How we're going to do that will depend on the games.

"Given that we're playing every three days we'll have to see how we're going to do it."

Madrid avoided a record fourth consecutive European loss courtesy of Casemiro and Karim Benzema, after Marcus Thuram's brace had put hosts Gladbach in the box seat.

Gladbach became the 30th different opponent Benzema has scored against in the Champions League – only Lionel Messi (36), and Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul (both 33) have scored against more teams in the competition's history.

The result left Madrid with one point from two games in Group B following last week's shock defeat at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Zidane, whose Madrid averted defeat in a Champions League away fixture having trailed by two goals for the first time since December 2006 – added: "It's a deserved result but we could have won it because we do all we can do win games but there was a team up the other end who made it difficult for us.

"We didn't panic, we kept opening the pitch up and we showed real character to come back. That's what I'll be taking away from this because being 2-0 down in the Champions League and getting a point is a great result.

"If we keep playing like we did tonight we'll achieve great things and win games."

Zinedine Zidane predicted a difficult season for Real Madrid after Casemiro's 93rd-minute goal spared the stuttering LaLiga holders an embarrassing Champions League defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Marcus Thuram's brace gave hosts Gladbach the lead at Borussia-Park but late strikes from Karim Benzema and Casemiro averted a record fourth consecutive European loss for Madrid with a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.

Gladbach became the 30th different opponent Benzema has scored against in the Champions League – only Lionel Messi (36), and Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul (both 33) have scored against more teams in the competition's history.

The comeback did little to paper over the cracks in a chaotic Madrid performance that was strewn with defensive mistakes against the Bundesliga side.

Despite seeing Madrid struggle for the second time in as many Champions League games, following a 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk the previous week, head coach Zidane defended his players.

"We didn't think this would be such a drama," Zidane told reporters. "But my team showed that they know how to react.

"I thought we were very good in the first half. The big pain is that we committed a serious error in how we conceded their first goal.

"But this final result is just another demonstration of the character my team has. We always play to win and show the hunger to win. No way were we happy with the draw."

The result leaves Madrid with one win, one draw, and two defeats from their last four games in all competitions, and Zidane must prepare for back-to-back home games against Huesca in LaLiga and Inter in the Champions League.

Failure to take maximum points in those games could leave the Frenchman's position under threat but Zidane said the character shown by his players left him confident.

"We didn't transform the possession we enjoyed into proper chances," said Zidane, whose Madrid avoided defeat in a Champions League away fixture having trailed by two goals for the first time since December 2006.

"What I'll take from this experience is how these players reacted. This was a very important point to secure.

"This is going to be a difficult year for everyone, but I'm proud of my team tonight. Playing like this we'll go through the group to the next round without any doubt."

Casemiro scored in second-half injury time to rescue Real Madrid a 2-2 draw from a Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach that threatened a serious setback for Zinedine Zidane's men.

Madrid arrived at Borussia Park buoyed by a 3-1 Clasico victory over Barcelona but were soon haunted by the sort of calamitous defending that saw them lose their Champions League Group B opener against Shakhtar Donetsk.

An error from Toni Kroos allowed the hosts an attack in which Marcus Thuram profited from some sloppy marking to score the opener, and the Frenchman netted a tap-in shortly before the hour mark to leave Madrid reeling.

The Spanish champions looked set to lose four consecutive European matches for the first time in their history before Karim Benzema scored with an acrobatic finish in the 87th minute and Casemiro swept home at the death.

The result may ease the pressure on Zidane for now, but his side must improve if their European hopes are to have any substance this season.

Toni Kroos insists the Real Madrid squad still has faith in coach Zinedine Zidane after the Frenchman came under scrutiny in the wake of some recent poor results.

Although Madrid head into Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Borussia Monchengladbach on the back of a 3-1 Clasico win over Barcelona, prior back-to-back defeats to promoted Cadiz and depleted Shakhtar Donetsk raised questions.

Both shock losses came at home, with the 3-2 reverse to Shakhtar – in which they found themselves 3-0 down at half-time – seeing Los Blancos playing catch-up right away in Champions League Group B.

The Clasico victory at Camp Nou on Saturday prevented the pressure from increasing, though another poor result in Europe will surely have Zidane on the back foot again.

But Kroos is adamant such defeats are not on the coach.

"For our part, there have never been doubts with Zidane," he told reporters. "We lose and win together.

"It is easy if something is not going well to say that there are doubts, but the result of the Clasico showed that it is not like that.

"If you play for Madrid you have to accept that if you lose matches there is criticism. The important thing is how you react and we did very well, but it is only one victory and you have to continue like this."

Similarly, Zidane seemed to give little significance to the idea he is under pressure.

"I only think about tomorrow's game," he told reporters on Monday. "I will fight until the last day and we will do things as usual. The rest, we will see."

Zidane has been given the boost of being able to include Eden Hazard in the squad for the first time this season, the Belgium star having sustained a muscle injury as he neared a return to action at the end of last month.

But the coach was not giving anything away with regards to the winger's chances of playing in Germany on Tuesday.

"If Hazard is with us it is because he is well and that is good news," Zidane said. "We are all happy to see him with us.

"Tomorrow we will see how we are going to use him. It is very positive news for us."

Zinedine Zidane insisted he was unfazed about silencing Real Madrid's critics after recording a 3-1 Clasico win over Barcelona.

After Ansu Fati cancelled out Federico Valverde's opener, Sergio Ramos scored a 63rd-minute penalty and Luka Modric sealed Madrid's win at Camp Nou.

Zidane was under pressure at the helm after back-to-back losses to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, but Madrid moved top of LaLiga after Saturday's win.

And the Real Madrid coach said he had no interest in trying to respond to critics.

"That's not what we're here for, to shut them up," Zidane told a news conference.

"We do our job, believing in what we do, being together when we have to be and that's what we did. We did it as a team, I'm very proud of them.

"When it comes to defending we had a compact block. Then with a rival open like Barca, we've found gaps two or three times and in the end, it's about trying to play a good game as a team and that's what we did."

Ramos' controversial penalty proved crucial for Madrid and the defender has now scored each of his past 25 spot-kicks, including shoot-outs, for his club and Spain.

Madrid's overall performance, though, pleased Zidane, as they made it four wins in six league games this season.

"We played a good game, playing against a team that we know is open, that played well," he said.

"I'm happy for the players because in the end it's about that, after the last few days of everything they said. I am happy for them and also to finish with Modric's goal.

"I've seen the team together. I am happy because they're the ones fighting on the pitch. We can enjoy what we did."

Madrid visit Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday before hosting Huesca four days later.

Zinedine Zidane was delighted to be able to welcome back Sergio Ramos for the Clasico, with the Real Madrid captain starring at both ends at Camp Nou.

Ramos had been substituted at half-time in last week's defeat to Cadiz and sat out the midweek meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, a second straight home reverse.

But Madrid's form returned along with their skipper on Saturday as they beat bitter rivals Barcelona 3-1.

Zidane's led through Federico Valverde's fifth-minute goal but were pegged back soon enough by Ansu Fati, who then had the Spanish champions on the back foot early in the second half.

However, Ramos earned a penalty from an altercation with Clement Lenglet in the Barca box – a tug spotted by the VAR – and netted himself from 12 yards.

That set the stage for Luka Modric to clinch the points in the 90th minute after Ramos had led a brave defensive effort.

The World Cup winner's importance to Madrid is certainly not in doubt. Including the Shakhtar game, they have lost seven of their past eight Champions League games without him.

"We know what Sergio is and what he represents, not only as a player," Zidane said.

"He is always positive on the field and we always want him in our team. It is important for the team to see how he played today."

Ramos made three tackles, four clearances, three interceptions and a block in defence, but his most telling contribution was in attack.

The defender felt the penalty award was "very clear" but, while Barca coach Ronald Koeman was left disappointed, Zidane was reluctant to be drawn into such a discussion.

"[The referee] went to look at the play and he called a penalty," Zidane said. "I never speak of the referees and I will not do it today either.

"Regardless of this play, we deserved this victory, although Barca also had their chances."

Lionel Messi could extend his stay at Barcelona after all. 

Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants in the close season, but he ended up staying put. 

However, it has been expected the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will depart Camp Nou when his contract expires at season's end. 



Messi will stay at Barcelona if the club gets a new board and clear project, journalist Guillem Balague told FourFourTwo.

Barcelona are due to hold a presidential election in March next year amid pressure on Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Ahead of Saturday's Clasico against Real Madrid, Messi has scored two goals and provided one assist in five games in all competitions.



- Neymar's deal at Paris Saint-Germain runs until 2022, but there is constant talk over the star's future. Le 10 Sport reports PSG got closer to the Brazil international and his representatives after the transfer window and are prepared to offer him a new contract, although a concrete offer is yet to be presented.

- Zinedine Zidane is under pressure at the helm of Real Madrid. However, AS reports even if the coach left, it would not impact the LaLiga giants' pursuit of PSG star Kylian Mbappe.

- Yet to renew at Juventus, Paulo Dybala's future seems uncertain. Todofichajes reports Chelsea are working to convince the playmaker to join the Premier League club and are prepared to offer up to £90.9million (€100m) for the Argentina international.

- Manchester City are set to make at least one signing in January. The Manchester Evening News says City are ready to pay around £6m (€6.6m) for Partizan winger Filip Stevanovic, 18.

Zinedine Zidane insists he is not feeling the pressure of the sack as the Real Madrid coach welcomes back Sergio Ramos for Saturday's Clasico.

Back-to-back home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk have left Zidane's position under scrutiny and a loss to Barcelona at Camp Nou would only amplify concerns that the team are stagnating.

The 3-2 loss to Shakhtar was particularly chastening, as Madrid fell 3-0 down in the first half to a team missing 10 key first-team players due to an outbreak of coronavirus, marking the first time they let in three goals in the first 45 minutes of a Champions League match in 15 years.

Ramos missed that match through injury but is expected at least to be in the squad this weekend, although Zidane warned he wanted his captain to be at "100 per cent".

Zidane has only lost twice in nine games against Barca as Madrid boss and his side have not conceded a goal in the previous two, with a goalless draw and a 2-0 win in last season's meetings helping Madrid go on to win the LaLiga title.

But with only three wins in all competitions since July 16, doubts have been growing over Zidane's long-term suitability in his second stint in the job, and some reports in Spain suggest Mauricio Pochettino has already been contacted over the prospect of taking charge.

Zidane, though, insists he feels the support of everyone at the club, saying: "Yes, [I feel it from] all of them. Ultimately, I've won many things with these players; they have made me win a lot of things. I will be with these players to the death. They are the ones who fight and run.

"I can see the support, yes. But, for now, what's important for us is to change the mindset. Games are coming for us to change things. Football is beautiful for that. When things get worse, you have to bring out your character and quality."

When asked if his future is at stake, he replied: "That's what is said. Nothing at all has changed. It was the same last year, the same in my first period. It doesn't change.

"What I have to do is my job, give 100 per cent as always and, to the rest, nothing.

"We look at the games. We started badly in the sense that, when they scored, it was tough for us to lift our heads.

"That's football. There are high and low moments and you have to accept them. You have to forget what happened the other day.

"I don't like being a victim or anything. It's a game and each one has its story, and that's the good thing about football. You can go through bad moments and the good thing is you can take that and come back to change the situation.

"I've always been critical of myself. It's the engine to improve. After a defeat, as coach, most of the criticism is for me. And that's normal. But I don't live in the past; I'm interested in what lies ahead."

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